By Otto Pippenger
City College’s annual number of robberies declined from five to six the years 2013 and 2014, to two to three in 2014 and 2015. 2016 saw none at all. But the vicious armed robbery of student Victor Tense in mid February at the Multi-Use Building (MUB) has students in 2017 wondering if the year will be a return to higher rates of violent crime.
With several other serious crimes including a grand theft in the MUB and an aggravated assault the same day elsewhere on Ocean Campus, these incidents are a reminder that police can never be everywhere at once in a place as large as the Ocean Campus.
Tense was robbed when two men followed him into the men’s room in the MUB. They were both Hispanic males, one 20-30 years old and the other 30-40 with a vivid purple scar on the right side of his face that “washes out all other details” according to Tense.
They told Tense that they thought he had spat on one of the offender’s sister, flustering Tense long enough to corner him and pull out a semiautomatic handgun.
They told Tence to “get on the floor if you don’t wanna be shot in the head,” and then robbed him of his phone, wallet, keys and backpack for damages totalling nearly $500.
Tense waited after they left. “I was expecting to open that door and find a gun in my face,” Tense said before returning to his classroom. His classmates and teacher helped him to call the police and cancel his debit card. Campus police arrived within minutes.
Since the phone could not be tracked the only remaining evidence was the security camera footage, while Ocean Campus is patrolled both on foot and by car, according to Officer Tiffany Green.
“Our security officer for the campus is usually at the Wellness Center or bookstore,” Green said, “we may increase or restructure our patrols to prevent crimes like this.”
The MUB is one of only three structures, including Rosenberg Library and the Wellness Center, to be equipped with security cameras on Ocean Campus. While Tense’s attackers can clearly be seen exiting the building, with one wearing Tence’s backpack, the angle and placement of the camera over the exit failed to capture their faces directly or with a high enough resolution to make identification possible.
“The video cameras around the MUB are not very good,” Officer Tiffany Green of the City College Campus Police said. “Personally, I would like improved cameras and to have them throughout the school.”
Of the school’s security cameras, several of the dozens are inactive while others are obscured by cobwebs and other detritus. In the case of the February 13 robbery, a camera covering the parking lot could have potentially helped to identify the suspect’s vehicle, which could have helped Ingleside Police to match it with a license plate or traffic camera elsewhere.
“I think they must have driven off. They disappeared,” Green said. “There are traffic cameras along Phelan.”
Green speculated that “they may have staked the area out beforehand…most suspects would know we’re not there that often.” When asked about prevention of similar crimes in the future Green said, “I would like more cameras to be a priority which would give us more tools rather than having to defer to the SFPD, since we have more knowledge of the school and may be better equipped to solve such crimes.”
A Gofundme account has been created in order to help Victor Tense recover from the robbery, and donations can be left at https://www.gofundme.com/ccsf-student-robbed-on-campus .
The crime is now being investigated by the Ingleside Police Department with no developments as of yet.